EA Premiered their E3 presentation to the world earlier today and with it, they finally gave us an extended look at Anthem, the much anticipated open-world online action RPG from BioWare.
There are a couple things that should be said about the press conference in general. Like how out of touch it was: EA failed to show us anything surprising, a lack of new game announcements, and a very stiff and uncomfortable performance from most of their announcers. Overall it was one of my least favorite conferences I’ve ever seen.
That being said…
Anthem is interesting. Anthem is the one thing they had to show off in great detail, and I think they did a good job explaining what it had to offer… but is that enough?
EA had a very bad year, with Star Wars: Battlefront II underperforming, and all the hate they are getting because of the loot box fiasco; it’s no wonder they wanted to show off a fun new IP and emphasize the fact that it will not have loot boxes. All this adds to what should have been a banger at the show… But I didn’t really feel like it left the impression they wanted, for three reasons.
First of all, there is not going to be PVP launching with the game. I can’t think of a single online only game that doesn’t have a PVP mode. Even Minecraft has a sort of PVP mode where you and your friends can battle it out in an arena. This is going to be detrimental to the game, and immediately makes me lose interest; especially since the game requires online… something only the craziest of games has…
Second, they have yet to show us a deep dive into the story. We know very few details about what the game’s story actually is. In fact, they have avoided story details to the point that I am missing key elements to the game… like what the world is called, who I’m playing as, what am I doing, who are the other characters? These are basic questions that even story sparse games like Destiny have answers to. I’m not going to say that those story points aren’t out there, but if I’ve been following Anthem like a general audience member and I can’t keep track of what’s going on… We’ve got a problem, Major Tom.
Last, but certainly not least, we have to talk about the state of BioWare. The last game BioWare made was a little disaster called Mass Effect Andromeda, a game to follow one of the most well-regarded franchises in the world. Not only was it badly reviewed but it sold so poorly that the game received a heavy discount only weeks after release: and here’s the kicker… Mass Effect is what they are good at. Relationships. Characters. Big worlds. Single player experiences. These are the things that make a good BioWare game. Imagine the same team that botched Mass Effect so bad attempting a multiplayer, online-only game with zero relationship building and a story that hasn’t even been mentioned more than as an offhand comment about “how epic” it is.
All in all, I’m very excited to fly around as an Iron Man type dude and kill monsters. But I am not sold yet, and it will take a lot to get me invested and consider it a good game.